Best LAC for a Spanish/Hispanic Studies major

Rising senior. Non native speaker, currently studying in Spanish speaking country.
Already advanced, should be ~3rd year college level, dual enrollment at that level in Literature and History senior year. Excellent grades, quirky EC’s (nothing national or eye-catching but personal interest pursued ardently and well – not a spike, not a hook.) No test score, will go TO.
Wants to major in Hispanic Studies or Spanish, will add a minor in something like Media Studies, American studies, Journalism/professional writing, Graphic Design, Communication (… NON STEM).
Can apply ED at meet full-need college, EA where offered. Will need need-based aid (family income above Questbridge level though).
Smaller public colleges (~6,000 max) with full tuition and up for strong academics but no test scores, also considered.
Middlebury or Rice would be the ideal colleges in terms of vibe but those are probably too reachy due to the “quirky” EC’s that can’t be leveraged by/at any college. Likes Franklin&Marshall, Vassar, Whitman.
A difficulty is that the Spanish curriculum should be strong enough to give her plenty of courses to take considering she’ll start at a very high level already.
Any idea comes to mind?
(I already have ideas and it’s 100% fine if yours are similar to mine as it’ll reinforce my sense for the appropriateness of the school, and other ideas welcome.)

1 Like

I wonder if this is a case of a student in need of a National University trying to force-fit into an LAC.

P.S. I think that it would be helpful to share the “quirky ECs” as the information provided is too vague other than that the student needs high level Spanish courses probably found only in a graduate program.

Which is the student’s home state for in-state tuition purposes ?

Consider the University of New Mexico for a low cost option with lots of courses related to Spanish & Spanish culture.

The University of Texas & Georgetown University also should be considered. Indiana University is another.

Why cripple the student’s search by limiting him/her to LACs & schools of 6,000 students are less ?

1 Like

It’s okay to apply to “reachy” schools, especially for ED which will give her the highest chance of admission. Also, quirky ECs can be used by colleges, just not in the traditional way, and can show that students like to think outside the box. While I don’t know her grades or ECs specifically, I feel like you might be underrating her chances.

1 Like

@publisher
Because the student is adamant she doesn’t want a college with more than 3,000 students… (She thinks 1,500 is big enough). So I managed to get her to agree to 6,000 to expand the search… although she clearly only agreed because I pushed and doesn’t seem to have any intention to truly consider them (we’ll get there).

The quirky ECs are along the lines of niche sport fandom and knitting preemie/newborn caps.

Grades are like #1 in class/4.0 uw.

4 Likes

Not sure, but Trinity University in Texas and Dickinson College in Pennsylvania may be of interest.

3 Likes

I was also going to suggest Trinity University.

3 Likes

If I recall correctly, Trinity University in Texas offers merit scholarships.

3 Likes

Thank you!
Will start digging. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Yes, Trinity uses merit to attract strong students and is quite generous. Its regular tuition is also a bit lower than many LACs. My son looked seriously at Trinity. It’s a beautiful school, not in the middle of San Antonio but very accessible.

3 Likes

I’d suggest that the student look at online courses catalogues of schools he/she is interested in to understand the depth of the curriculum in his/her area of interest.

One idea may be Dickinson which emphasized a global focus when we visited a few years ago.

2 Likes

Maybe Kalamazoo, Denison or Clark? No idea on their Spanish though…

2 Likes

The lack of ECs may hurt the applicant’s chances at most competitive LACs.

LACs may not offer enough courses at her level in Spanish Language, Spanish Culture, and in the minor areas of study desired.

A different approach would be to seek out a university with a strong graduate program in Spanish which will conditionally accept the student while also enrolled as an undergraduate. Or one that will co-ordinate undergraduate studies in Spanish with a masters program in Spanish.

Since the applicant wants a small school, it might be helpful to focus on the size of both the undergraduate and graduate programs in Spanish so that the student focuses on offerings in her major area of study with respect to class size & individualized attention, and not on the largely irrelevant overall size of any particular school.

A list of Spanish courses by school should be considered by the student as the suitability of certain schools may be assessed resulting in genuine consideration of attending a university rather than an LAC.

As an aside: An EC involving knitting baby caps may be helpful in some majors–such as nursing or social work–but not attractive overall.

2 Likes

Do you need 100% aid, or can you pay part of the cost? If the latter, what is your budget, and what is your budget without debt?

What state are you from? or what country if not the US? Is the student a US citizen or permanent resident?

I understand that some ECs could be rare enough that you do not want to specify them without risking losing the “confidential” part of the name of this web site. However, quirky ECs might be a good thing depending upon what they are.

1 Like

UT Austin has long had the top Latin American studies programs and library collections in the US. The University of Miami would also be a terrific choice in that league. Check out the Claremont Colleges as well; she could access all of them from Scripps, for example. Look also at Boston College. Jesuit schools tend to have strong Spanish/Hispanic studies. I would also look at schools that run programs with the Complutense or Salamanca universities in Spain, which have prestigious Hispanic studies programs. Also agree re Trinity University as alternative to Rice.

5 Likes

I would also check out College of the Holy Cross. HC and BC, in addition to Georgetown, are disproportionately prestigious and well known in Latin America and Spain because of the Catholic affinity and their historical role of educating the Latin American elites from the top Catholic schools in the region. The University of Chicago has also played a disproportionate role in leading Latin American political and economic thought; at that level, so have Harvard and Yale. Borges even taught at Yale, and they have beefed their traditional strong offer on language, politics and economics with strong Latinx studies tenured faculty, and now boasts 14 percent Latinx students. Former Mexico President Ernesto Zedillo did his PhD at Yale and is currently on the faculty.

2 Likes

Middle Middle class, few assets, low cost house, low-ish EFC – The student’s budget is about 15K (within EFC). 1 other kid. (Non Hispanic, not FGLI)
State is PA: none of the public universities are within budget ($~30,000 instate, with only $1,000 to $2,000 in state grant possible but not guaranteed and highly competitive $5,000 scholarship; not Pell eligible; and PASSHE not appropriate as she’s essentially completed their major as an entering freshman).

Quirky/charming ECs don’t help for the highly selective colleges. I seriously doubt Yale or Harvard are possible.

Thank you for the suggestions, they’re all good and I’m exploring everything. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

1 Like

You should also explore Dickinson, Connecticut College and Emory, and the latter two do merit, not sure re Dickinson. The first two have strong study abroad and humanities, and the latter is reach but seems less obsessed on Competitive ECs than HY. UVA and UNC also have strong Latam studies but not sure re their economics for you. Tulane is another interesting possibility with lots of merit available and deep roots in Latam as New Orleans has historically been a destination for LatAm elite scholars (civil code jurisdiction, etc). If interested more in US Latinx studies, Wesleyan has become the Mecca of the Latinx creative elite students (and is close to 15 pct Latinx) after Lin Manuel Miranda fame. The Amherst/Umass/etc consortium should also be investigated; many prominent Latin families are large donors at Amherst (ie the Ferres from Puerto Rico). The point about having a strong Latinx representation in the school even if your D is not Latinx is that those schools tend to attract and invest more in LatAm/Hispanic studies departments, which also are usually majority Latinx faculty.

Also look into Fordham and NYU as NY is a huge cultural center for Latin America, second only to Miami; and perhaps Houston (UH) and LA (LMU and USC) but the latter two only as to Mexico.

2 Likes

I would look at Hamilton. Excellent financial aid, they like quirky students, and the Hispanic Studies major has a year in Spain.

4 Likes

Do you think she could crack Mt. Holyoke?
Then she’d have cross-registration at a flagship U (which I see was recommended specifically up-thread) if she ran out of course offerings in-house, but she’d still have the small college experience. And full-need-met aid.

4 Likes

WOW, terrific idea!
:slight_smile:

3 Likes